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Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) made a daring late attack and then held off a charging peloton of sprinters to win the second stage of the Tour of Oman in Al Bustan. Lutsenko crossed the finish line three seconds ahead of stage 1 winner Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), who retained his overall lead in the race.
The hilly 161km stage from Royal Calvary Oman to Al Bustan included several punchy climbs, including the steep climb of Al Jissah, which came inside 10km from the finish. Lutsenko attacked on the climb and built up a small advantage on the trailing group. He put in a massive effort on the ensuing descent to keep a small gap at the line.
“Today is a good day for me, and for my team,” Lutsenko said. “It was very fast in the last 20 km. My team made a very good work today. I managed to take 20 seconds in the last bump. I was lucky in the last few [kilometers] to be able to keep my advance and finish in the first place. I am very happy.”
In 2018 Lutsenko finished third on the punchy stage behind Australian rider Nathan Haas (Katusha), who did not start Sunday’s stage due to illness.
The stage win is Lutsenko’s first victory of 2019. The victory bumped him up to third place overall, and he now is in perfect position to again target the overall. In 2018 Lutsenko won the overall as part of a dominating performance by Astana; the team won two stages and finished first and second in the GC, with Miguel Angel Lopez finishing just 11 seconds behind Lutsenko.
The overall will again be decided on Wednesday’s fifth stage, which concludes with the summit finish at Green Mountain.